Mumbai has been called the city where dreams are made. The commercial capital of India and a wonderful example of the social, economic and cultural melting pot that is India, Mumbai has a lot to offer any visitors or even settlers. Not only is Mumbai at the epicentre of all trade and corporate activity, where the entire economy of India shifts from day to day, but also the entertainment capital of the nation, the birthplace of Bollywood, and the city where many of the arts such as dance and theatre are encouraged to grow. The city that never sleeps has much intrigue and beauty hidden within its bustling routine.
The best time to visit Mumbai is between October and March, when the tropical heat and humidity is less intense than at other times.
Mumbai is very well connected by all routes. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has flights connecting to all major cities in India as well as abroad, and sees the second highest amount of passenger traffic. Two major railway stations are found here, Central Railway, at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Western Railway, headquartered at Churchgate. Mumbai also falls on National Highways 3, 4, 8, 17 and 222 and is very well connected to all its neighbouring cities by road.
1. Gateway of India
Built during the British Raj in 1911, the Gateway to India is a grand coastal structure that was originally meant to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary into India by sea, and henceforth became the arrival point for all prominent visitors to Mumbai back when the journey could only be made by boat.
The 26-foot tall stone structure is located on the Apollo-Bunder Waterfront in South Mumbai, close to the famous Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. Due to its location, it usually became the first structure seafarers arriving into Mumbai see.
2. Colaba Causeway
Originally a land link between Colaba and Old Woman’s Island, the Colaba Causeway has today emerged as an attractive and vibrant upscale commercial street, where youngsters, families and many others turn out each day for recreation.
The Colaba Causeway has much to offer visitors who arrive for varying purposes. Educational and artistic locations include the National Gallery of Modern Art and Prince of Wales Museum, while on the lighter side we have some of the famous pubs and eateries of Mumbai such as Cafe Leopold and Cafe Mondegar.
3. Marine Drive
Also known as the Queen’s Necklace due to its graceful curve, Marine Drive is a 4.3 kilometre long stretch of coastal land that has emerged as a symbol of the city of Mumbai itself.
A road runs along the entirety of Marine Drive, connecting Babulnath and Malabar Hills to Nariman Point. Various corporate buildings and luxury hotels such as the Oberoi are located on this road. A promenade runs parallel to this road and some of Mumbai’s best street food can be sampled here. One can relax by the ocean and watch the city bustle by.
4. Haji Ali Dargah
Driving through Mumbai, one usually comes across the small island, right off the Worli coast that houses the grand Haji Ali Dargah. It was built in 1431 by the renowned Saint Syed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a reformed merchant, who gave up his wealth and worldly possessions in the name of Islam.
This white and silver Dargah, with inscriptions telling tales of tragic lovers, is an marvellous specimen of Indo-Islamic Architecture. The main attraction is the tomb of Saint Syed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, located within the heart of the Dargah.
5. Aksa Beach
A popular but comparatively less visited beach in Mumbai, the Aksa Beach is a quiet spot away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Various local businesses and street shops can be found here. The beach is accessible by bus from Borivali and Malad West railway stations and also by private transportation.
6. Linking Road
Linking Road is a street in Bandra, which connects Bandra Talkies to Shanti Ashram, and has today grown to be the most popular local shopping promenade with locals and tourists alike. Regular brands such as Shopper’s Stop and Titan, high end brands as well as local shops where one can bargain to one’s heart’s content all co-exist here. Everything from clothing and accessories, luxury and household items can be found over here.
7. Film City
Mumbai is the hub of the entire Indian Film Industry, otherwise known as Bollywood. The Film City in Mumbai, which was renamed Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, in honour of the Father of Indian Cinema, is a widespread complex of film studios and locales where many of our favourite movies were shot and edited. Indian cinema releases 1000 films each year and many of these are made in the Film City. Tours through the Film City are available and can easily be booked by interested visitors.
8. Essel World and Water Kingdom
India’s largest amusement park, Essel World and Asia’s largest water park, Water Kingdom are the perfect day out for family and friends, with many facilities such as our favourite fast food restaurants and different rides for everybody. There are fifteen children’s rides, fourteen family rides and eleven adventure rides. These rides include a rainwater dance floor, an Award-winning haunted house ride and even an ice skating rink.
9. Elephanta Caves
Located on a small island east of mainland Mumbai, the Elephanta Caves are otherwise known as the Gharapurichi Leni. These caves are a collection of five Hindu Shaivist caves and two Buddhist caves. Archaeologists are, till date, unsure of the time when the caves and the structures were carved but many believe it to be between the 5th and 8th century. Some even link the origin of these caves to the Mahabharata.
10. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a 104 square kilometre reserved area with much flora and fauna in the middle of a populous city, which thus attracts the maximum number of visitors each day. The area houses around 1000 species of plants, 251 species of birds and 40 species of mammals within its precincts. The main attraction at the park is the Kanheri Caves, ancient Buddhist temples and centres of learning, which were carved into the hillside in the 1st century BCE.
Mumbai is a city that has its charm in the way it defies the clock and keeps running no matter what the hour is. It is city that grows on you and that many fall in love with.